Mississippi Association of Partners in Education #PartnershipPower
2013 Partnership Excellence Award:
Watkins Elementary and Allen’s Recycling, Mississippi Recycling Coalition, Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Southern Farm Bureau, Home Depot, Fleet Feet of Jackson, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Watkins PTA, Jackson Public School District, Hobbs Masonry, Creative Mind Construction, Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, Executive Women International and Entergy.
Duration of recycling partnership: 2.5 years Approx. 20 volunteers Impacts 430 students
In 2010, the City of Jackson began partnering with Jackson Public Schools on a Recycling Pilot Program. The goals were to identify waste streams created by schools and administrative offices, to encourage schools to recycle and reduce waste, and to promote environmental and civic responsibility. Watkins Elementary was honored by being one of the few elementary schools selected to participate in this new recycling pilot study.
Watkins held a number of activities centered around recycling and the environment, including America Recycles Week activities, Environmental Awareness Week activities, the Keep America Beautiful State Recycle Bowl, the GreenSneakers Eco-Challenge, PTA Recycle Saturdays, and a fifth grade wind turbine project. Students also maintain a vegetable garden and participated in classroom instruction with the Food Corps and the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. Other activities include Community Workdays, Read Across America, the Open Doors Program for gifted students to make recycled paper, and the Executive Women International Reading Rally with Mississippi author and educator John Stark.
The Watkins Recycling program collected over 20 tons of recyclables in 2011 and 2012. Allen’s Recycling reported that over seven tons of mixed recyclables were collected during the Keep America Beautiful State Recycle Bowl, a 25% increase in total recyclables and Watkins' second state championship. Watkins also won first place among schools in the KeepMississippi Beautiful State Awards and was the Mississippi Educational Institution 2012 Recycler of the Year for the Mississippi Recycling Coalition. The school also noted improvements in academic achievement after an increase in community involvement. The percentage of Watkins students performing at proficient and advanced levels increased to 63.3%.